" A wealth of information..."

"1169 And Counting is a wealth of information on our Republican past and present , and demonstrates how the Irish political landscape , like that of any nation, will never be a black and white issue..."

(From the ‘e-Thursday’ section of the ‘Business Week’ supplement of the ‘Irish Independent’ , 21st August 2008.)



IRISH BLOG AWARDS 2017 - ooops! It seems that our entry application was "not completed in time to be considered.." (?) and, as such, we are not now in the running. But we wish all the best to the successful entrants and to the organisers, and we hope all goes well for them on the day!


Friday, August 25, 2006

MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS .......
James Keegan died in Granard Garda Station last September (1986) . Earlier this month , an inquest was held in Longford to ascertain the cause of death.
The central question - how James Keegan managed to tear a blanket and hang himself within four minutes - still remains unanswered .
DEREK DUNNE reports.
From 'IN DUBLIN' magazine , February 1987 .

At 2.45am , according to the garda evidence at the inquest , Garda John Boyle said that he came back from his break and went straight in to check the prisoners without any consultation with Garda Eugene Watters . Garda David Martin had been in the Garda Station between 2am and 2.45am , according to the evidence , despite the fact that he had been off duty since 2am . He said that he was catching up on some writing he had to do . He lived only 200 yards from the Station . He could not remember who was in the office , or much of what went on , but he says that he left for home around 2.45am .

At 2.49am , as a result of some particularly loud shouting on the part of Jack Mahon , Garda John Boyle went into the cells : Mahon pointed to the other cell . James Keegan was hanging from a torn blanket wrapped around the bars of the cell . His feet were on the ground and he was facing the cell door . Garda John Boyle opened the cell door , relieved the weight of the body and freed James Keegan - he took him over to the bunk-bed and found that his pulse was weak but his heart was still beating . He radioed Garda Eugene Watters to get a doctor and when he returned to the cell James Keegan was dead . He tried artificial respiration without success . Dr. Donohue was called .

The purpose of an inquest is not to apportion either criminal or civil liability ; the purpose is to find out who died , where they died , when they died and how they died . Jack Mahon was immediately driven home by the gardai and was released without Garda John Boyle asking him what had happened . In the circumstances of the moment , this would appear natural enough . Garda Boyle , in his own words , "...could see quite clearly what had happened.. " . Jack Mahon made a statement to the gardai in which he set out the sequence of events from the vantage point of his cell , across the hall from James Keegan.......
(MORE LATER).



THE QUALITY OF JUSTICE IS STRAINED.......
Many who fully support the concept of law and order cannot but feel some disquiet about developments in recent years .
From 'New Hibernia' magazine , April 1987 .
('Editorial' page)

The British response to the mounting evidence of innocence rather than guilt has done little to inspire confidence ; the British judiciary appears to take the view that nothing should be done : re-trials which overturned previous convictions would show that mistakes had been made , a development which the judiciary cannot contemplate . The British Government has allowed this approach to stand .

Nowhere is there an indication of any realisation by the British government that the case for putting bombers behind bars is not helped by jailing innocent people . Concern about the judicial system is not confined to cases which have political overtones ; multi-channel television viewers in Ireland had the opportunity recently of seeing the process used to convict four men of the murder of Carl Bridgewater - one of the convicted , an Irishman , has since died in jail . The television evidence of innocence appeared to be considerably stronger than the evidence originally used to convict the four men .

Matters could be worse in all cases , of course , and they may well be in the near future . The lives of , possibly innocent, people which have been wrecked by long terms of imprisonment could have been ended if the death penalty , a penalty for which there is increasing demand in Britain , applied . In Ireland , the cases may not be quite as stark or as strong but one does not have to search far to find cause for concern about the entire system of law enforcement and security . Successive Irish governments (sic) appeared to prefer to ignore allegations of British security involvement in criminal activity , including very many murders in this State.......
(MORE LATER).


A HARD 'OUL STATION : LIFE ON THE STREETS .......
From 'NEW HIBERNIA' magazine , March 1987 .

Ringsend is our next stop , to see a man called Pat , who sleeps in a small hut on waste ground near the Pigeon House : he is a real loner and the 'soup run' workers always have a problem tracking him down . Usually they leave his food with a night-watchman nearby but , when they have managed to catch up with him they have found it extremely hard to talk to him , as he prefers to be left alone .

Joe is another customer : one can find him along the beach at Sandymount ; he is a lively character and is well liked around the area . By the time we get to him he is fast asleep in his little Barna shed which was donated to him by an anonymous person when they heard that someone had burned his last one down . Joe is a small bearded man with all the presence of the archetypal English colonel , and is as deaf as a post . He has been waiting for some time now for the Health Board to get him a hearing aid . He loves to talk about Barry McGuigan , and had an autographed poster of him in his last hut but it was lost in the fire . You would love to stop and talk a little longer but it is getting late and there are several more calls to make .

A disused shed in Rathgar is where you will find Eamon : he is a traveller in his mid-sixties , with a face which is both weather-worn and scarred from fighting . The shed is cold and extremely damp . He is surprised to see us , and has been drinking all day as his dole money is gone . He , like all of our customers tonight , was glad of the soup . He explains to us why he had a board along the door which would'nt close properly - it was to keep the rats out , but they had no problem whatsoever in getting in anyway . Earlier on that day somebody stole Eamon's blankets and he now needed new ones . His trousers were also badly torn , and Peter will organise for the workers on the soup run the next night to bring him a new pair.......
(MORE LATER).







Thursday, August 24, 2006

Annual H-Block Hunger Strike Commemoration -
VENUE - Bundoran , County Donegal .
DATE - Saturday 26th August 2006 .
SPEAKER - Mary Ward .
Assemble at East End , 3pm .


A picket in support of the prisoners in Maghaberry Prison who are currently fighting for political status will be held at the GPO, Dublin on Saturday, September 2nd 2006 at 12:45pm .


Annual Eve-Of-All-Ireland Rally -
DATE - Saturday 16th September 2006 .
Assemble at the Garden Of Remembrance at 2pm , for parade to the GPO .
Also , on this same Saturday (16th) , Republicans will be holding a 12-hour fast at the GPO in support of Irish Republican political prisoners .






Wednesday, August 23, 2006

MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS .......
James Keegan died in Granard Garda Station last September (1986) . Earlier this month , an inquest was held in Longford to ascertain the cause of death.
The central question - how James Keegan managed to tear a blanket and hang himself within four minutes - still remains unanswered .
DEREK DUNNE reports.
From 'IN DUBLIN' magazine , February 1987 .

At 1.30am , Garda John Boyle recorded in the Garda Station Diary that all was well and quiet , and he recorded something similar for 1.45am . But there is a problem in relation to both these entries in the Station Diary : there are two entries for the Diary for these times .

One entry had 'all quiet' , but the second entry had Jack Mahon shouting and James Keegan singing . Garda John Boyle explained the two entries by the fact that he was relieved at 2am and had to make sure the Diary was up to date when he was asked by Garda Eugene Watters . He had forgotten making the earlier entries . He made the second entries in a 'flurry' , because he was also dealing with correspondence at the time , he said . He denied at the inquest that he made the entries in the Diary other than at the time he checked the prisoners .

At 2am , Garda John Boyle went to a nearby house for a refreshment break and Garda Eugene Watters took over . At 2.12am , Garda Watters recorded that James Keegan was singing and that Jack Mahon was shouting . He was afterwards to say that he could not understand Jack Mahon and had no idea what he was shouting about other than a general desire to get out of the cell . At 2.30am , Garda Watters recorded that James Keegan was still singing and that Jack Mahon was still shouting to get out.......
(MORE LATER).



THE QUALITY OF JUSTICE IS STRAINED.
Many who fully support the concept of law and order cannot but feel some disquiet about developments in recent years .
From 'New Hibernia' magazine , April 1987 .
('Editorial' page)

In this State and in Britain and the North of Ireland - the territories of main concern to Irish citizens in this regard - there has been some substantial , if not conclusive , evidence that the authorities are more concerned with maintaining 'order' than ensuring that a fair judicial system is seen to operate .

The Irish Government (sic) cannot fail to take note of events in Britain : apart from their duty * towards Irish people who have been forced to emigrate to earn a livelihood , there is the immediate issue of extradition . ( * '1169...' Comment : those self-serving career politicians in Leinster House see it as their 'duty' to fleece the electorate , to secure State contracts for their friends and supporters and to ensure that their own financial future is guaranteed by (mis)use of their Office . Time was when all this took place 'behind the scenes' , but not now : they are blatant about it , knowing that their own type will close ranks around them to protect them . Who knows - their colleagues may need similar assistance in the days ahead .)

Cases such as the Birmingham Six , the Guildford Four and the Maguires do little to re-assure many , both in Ireland and Britain , about the much-vaunted 'quality' of British justice . It is not so long ago that raising questions about cases such as these carried the risk of being branded a fellow-traveller of the IRA . Now that journalists - mainly British - have cast such huge doubts on those convictions , can there be many who are still satisfied that , in any or all of those cases , the bombers were the people who were convicted....... ?
(MORE LATER).



A HARD 'OUL STATION : LIFE ON THE STREETS .......
From 'NEW HIBERNIA' magazine , March 1987 .

Buswells Hotel and Leinster House are a visible hive of activity . The last few seats in the General (ie 26 County) Election are being filled : the bar in Leinster House is crammed with the TD's (sic - Leinster House members) who will form the next administration . Mary , who sleeps in a doorway in Molesworth Street , could'nt give two tosses about them . She is cold . She lost her coat during the day and only has three blankets and a cardigan to keep her warm . She is glad of the soup and sandwiches . Mary has been sleeping rough for years , and every so often she mentions the fact that she is going back to London to live . She has been saying that for years . The social workers have tried their best to get her into the shelter but she reckons it would be the death of her .

Around the corner from Mary's miserable little night dwelling and the palatial splendour of Leinster House , Tom is also curled up and covered with lankets ; at first he does'nt know who it is that is interrupting his well deserved sleep , but soon recognises the friendly faces and sits up to have his soup and sandwiches . He tells us that he likes to go to the pictures - that he loves horror films . He does'nt like Crocodile Dundee , that Paul Hogan is a show-off ! Indeed , his knowledge of film is quite extensive : James Stewart is a "brilliant actor" , but John Wayne was another show-off . Barry Norman eat your heart out ! Tom asks us if Mary is alright . He was wondering where she was because he had'nt seen her all day . A group of people heading off in the direction of the fashionable Pink Elephant Nightclub look on . Tom complains about the noise coming from the club , and tells us that he went up and asked the
bouncers to turn the music down but they told him to "fuck off..." .

Ringsend is the next stop , to see a man called Pat.......
(MORE LATER).







Tuesday, August 22, 2006

UPCOMING REPUBLICAN EVENTS :


Annual Bobby Sands Commemorative Lecture -
VENUE - Wynns Hotel , 35 Lower Abbey Streey , Dublin 1 .
DATE - Tuesday , 22nd August 2006 .
TIME - 7.30pm .
SPEAKER - Peig Galligan .
No Admission Charge ; ALL WELCOME !



Annual H-Block Hunger Strike Commemoration -
VENUE - Bundoran , County Donegal .
DATE - Saturday 26th August 2006 .
SPEAKER - Mary Ward .
Assemble at East End , 3pm .


A picket in support of the prisoners in Maghaberry Prison who are currently fighting for political status will be held at the GPO, Dublin on Saturday, September 2nd 2006 at 12:45pm .


Annual Eve-Of-All-Ireland Rally -
DATE - Saturday 16th September 2006 .
Assemble at the Garden Of Remembrance at 2pm , for parade to the GPO .
Also , on this same Saturday (16th) , Republicans will be holding a 12-hour fast at the GPO in support of Irish Republican political prisoners .






Monday, August 21, 2006

MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS .......
James Keegan died in Granard Garda Station last September (1986) . Earlier this month , an inquest was held in Longford to ascertain the cause of death.
The central question - how James Keegan managed to tear a blanket and hang himself within four minutes - still remains unanswered .
DEREK DUNNE reports.
From 'IN DUBLIN' magazine , February 1987 .

As Garda Eugene Watters was handing James Keegan over to Garda John Boyle , he heard shouting on the street ; it was Jack Mahon - he had been in the town for twelve hours and spent most of that time moving from pub to pub . Garda Eugene Watters went outside and arrested Jack Mahon for being drunk and incapable and handed him over to Garda John Boyle : both James Keegan and Jack Mahon were placed in separate cells .

As Station Orderly , Garda John Boyle had certain responsibility towards the two prisoners ; his responsibilities involved taking charge of the two men , carrying out a search , removing any objects with which they might harm themselves , securing them in their cells and looking after their well-being . In order to look after their well-being , he was obliged to check them every fifteen minutes . The garda in charge is also obliged to write into the Station Diary anything found on a prisoner . In James Keegan's case , a box of matches and an old cigarette butt were allegedly found and removed , but no mention was made of this in the Station Diary . In any case , blood pressure tablets and Librium were afterwards found on James Keegan which the garda had apparently failed to locate .

Twelve midnight : Garda John Boyle says he checked both men from the doorway leading into the cells , but did not actually go in to check . He says that he was reluctant to go in because both men were shouting or singing at various times , and that Jack Mahon in particular was calling for immediate release . Between midnight and 1am , he says that he checked both men in this way . At 1.15am , Garda Boyle recorded that James Keegan was singing and that Jack Mahon was shouting.......
(MORE LATER).



KERRY GARDA CRISIS .......

There is a crisis among the Gardai in Kerry and it is much deeper than one of morale . For years the Kerry Detective force has enjoyed a free hand in dealing with Section 30 cases in this heavily Republican county .
But the free rein given in these cases has had the inevitably corrupting effect . Now individual Gardai are being fingered for conduct that most of them had taken for normal : the heat is now on . Only the fall-guys remain to be named .......
From 'The Phoenix' magazine , February 1985 .

THE AOH CRISIS :
The Gardai's abuse of their powers usually comes to light only when they offend the powerful or articulate . Thus it was when - without warrant or invitation - the Gardai searched the hotel rooms of American delegates to the 'Ancient Order of Hibernians' Convention in Killarney , County Kerry , and seized a banner . When furious delegates realised that their rooms had been entered in their absence , they contacted their embassy to complain .

Shortly afterwards , an abject Detective Garda Kingston was despatched to explain to delegates that Gardai had searched their rooms 'soley to protect them from a possible subversive bomb attack' ! There was no credible explanation for the removal of the AOH banner .

[END of 'Kerry Garda Crisis']
(Next - ' The Quality of Justice is Strained' : from 1987.)


A HARD 'OUL STATION : LIFE ON THE STREETS .......
From 'NEW HIBERNIA' magazine , March 1987 .

The first port of call was a special meeting point down by Heuston Station , Dublin : at around 10.15pm , a group of three young men , in their early twenties , had gathered for the soup and sandwiches . Most other nights there are a few more . These young men were staying in the (Dublin) Corporation's Model Hostel nearby : it cost them 70p a night and they say that it is fairly strict there . Once out on the street the workers on the 'soup run' treat young and old alike - it is only in the hostel that the 'over forty' rule applies .

One of the young men is a chap called Pat , who came to Ireland almost a year ago to do a thesis on the country as part of his degree course at the University of New York . Pat spent some time in a flat but the landlord kept putting the rent up so he was forced to move out soon afterwards , and had no other alternative but to go to the Model Hostel . He soon found himself in trouble with the Gardai and is awaiting the decision of an appeal he has lodged on the case . In the meantime he can do nothing and he has been waiting for money to be sent from home , but it does'nt look like it is coming . The other two young men have very little to say for themselves , but are glad to get the hot soup and the sandwiches - it is freezing cold weather . They are also given some cigarettes .

Moving on to the fashionable area surrounding Molesworth Street we approach a small frail-looking woman named Mary , who is lying curled up in a ball in a doorway . The blankets cover her totally and she is sound asleep.......
(MORE LATER).